A business analyst is a liaison between different stakeholders in an organization. He acts as a bridge, a connector and helps the complete project teamwork as a tightly integrated unit.
Since stakeholders belong to different domains (e.g., finance, business, marketing) it’s very important for a business analyst to be able to sort and balance the needs of these stakeholders while fulfilling the business objectives at the same time.
Verticals in which a Business Analyst work
The job of a business analyst requires him to wears different hats and fulfill various duties under different spheres of the organization. For your better understanding, we have divided the business analyst job description amongst the different verticals in which a business analyst is expected to work in. These are:
- Additional areas of expertise
Each one of these verticals is comprehensively elaborated below.
- Business Vertical
- Understand the business case: A business case is the reason why the project was started. A business analyst should comprehend the business case thoroughly.
- Fulfill the business objective: Every project has a business objective i.e., what the project is expected to accomplish. A business analyst should be able to understand this objective and attain requirement with the objective in mind.
- Elicit Requirements: Elicit means to obtain and extract requirements from stakeholders. The requirement gathering process requires a business analyst to be apt with required skills like facilitation, brainstorming, interviewing and observation.
- Analyze requirements: A business analyst must conduct analysis of business goals/objectives, resolve ambiguity, and analyze business process to come up with solutions that fulfills the needs of the business environment.
- Develop scope: The project scope is a collection of all what is required to do to achieve the business objective. A business analyst should assist in the development the project scope and define the boundaries of the project.
- Business Documentation: A business analyst should document the requirements by creating the use cases, document what is required of the project by creating Business Requirements Document (BRD) and help documenting how the requirements should be achieved by creating Systems Requirements Specification or Document (SRS or SRD).
- Technical Vertical
- Perform Technical analysis: Apart from the business perspective, a business analyst should analyze the requirements from the technical viewpoint also and uncover any technical challenges that might come in fulfilling the requirements. This will involve capturing data, creating metrics, evaluating dependencies, and developing options.
- Develop Data models and process flows: It is required from a business analyst that he should analyze and create graphical representations of the flow of data through the system, modeling its process The document generated from this exercise is called the data flow diagram (DFD).
- Create mock-up user interfaces: For evaluation and demonstration, a business analyst is required to create the mock-up or prototype of the product to be developed. This prototype is a full-size model of the product and enables the feasibility testing of the product’s design.
- Exhibit analytical skills: A business analyst should demonstrate problem solving, qualitative, quantitative and visualization skills to resolve business/technical problems and apply logical thinking to come up with appropriate solutions.
- Technical documentation: A business analyst is required to provide technical support throughout the project life-cycle by developing following documents:
a) Context diagrams – used to show high level view of a system and the entities interacting with it.
b) Class diagrams – a type of static structure diagram that describes the structure of a system.
c) Entity–relationship diagram (ERD) – a model for describing the data or information aspects of a business process.
d) Activity Diagrams – related to program flow plans (flowcharts) and are used to illustrate activities.
- Managerial Vertical
- Facilitate implementation: A business analyst must partner with the development teams to facilitate the implementation of the product functionality through extensive training sessions, demonstrations, and clarifications.
- Develop plans: A business analyst should help develop requirement management plans, scope management plans, quality plans and other related plans to ensure they are in line with the business objectives.
- Manage requirements: A business analyst’s integral job is to manage requirements by eliciting, prioritizing, clarifying, implementing, and validating the complete project scope. He should also help establish responsible deadlines and resolve any ambiguity centering the same.
- Assist testing efforts: Testing the implemented functionality according to the product’s boundaries and monitoring the quality control functions are important part of the business analyst’s job.
- Support change management: Changes are unavoidable in the constantly developing environments and a business analyst should be able to manage these changes. He should understand changes, assess their viability against the business case, prioritize changes and document the same in ‘change log’.
- Financial Vertical
- Estimation: A business analyst is expected to be able to assist the estimation of the project’s cost and time. Thus, he should have a sound understanding and application knowledge of the various estimation techniques like function point estimation, critical path analysis, earned value techniques, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), etc.
- Perform Cost/benefit analysis: A business analyst should be able to assess the viability of a business proposal by estimating its strength and weakness through Cost/benefit analysis. He should, with his domain knowledge, measure the positive or negative consequences of a proposal and present his findings through an analysis report.
- Additional areas of expertise
- Domain knowledge: A business analyst must have the working knowledge of the domain (for e.g., finance, banking, infrastructure, etc.) in which he is expected to perform along with a good grasp of software engineering concepts.
- Leadership skills: A business analyst should be proactive, enthusiastic and a great team player with an aptitude to learn new skill set.
- Communication skills: Excellent client facing skills, presentation skills and the ability to communicate both verbally and in writing are imperative to the role of a business analyst.
All the above verticals taken collectively define the job description of a Business Analyst and after reading the article you might have thought ‘I possess many of the above-described skills. Could I be a business analyst?’ The answer is a clear ‘Yes’. A major portion of the Business Analyst skills are transferable and an individual who hasn’t worked as a business analyst could still advance in the domain owing to the transferable skills, he/she has accumulated over his professional career.